Making your startup pitch stand out to potential investors can be the difference between getting your great business idea off the ground and languishing in frustration at having a great idea but lacking the capital to make it a reality. Venture capitalists or other investors are pitched hundreds of business ideas during a year, but select only a few in which to invest. To get their attention and funding, make your startup pitch stand out from the other pitches. Here are four tips for making a winning startup pitch.
Pitching a startup idea is different from seeking funding for a business that is already up and running. Potential investors can’t see the actual business yet; they can only see you and your idea. Effectively communicate why you are the very best person to bring your particular idea to market, and exude both confidence and competence. Relate your past successes in a way that connects with your current idea and helps them believe you have what it takes to get the job done. To stand out, particularly stress what is different and better about your proposed startup as compared to similar businesses. Dress professionally and look sharp. It is true that first impressions count.
Research Your Audience
Business capital investors typically have particular interests. Avoid wasting your time pitching your startup idea to an individual or firm that simply doesn’t have any interest in your type of business. Instead, focus your efforts on pitching to investors you identify as sharing your general business interests. With a venture capital firm, this is as easy as checking its website and learning what types of companies it has invested in previously. With individuals, see if some of your business or personal network connections can provide you with information about the kind of business ventures they favor.
Use Visual Aids
The effectiveness of your startup pitch can be immeasurably enhanced with good visual aids. Even if your startup idea isn’t conducive to photos or pictures, your main points still stand out much more effectively when presented in big letters on a screen. Most people tend to remember more of what they see than what they hear; provide potential investors with visual images that communicate the critical information about what makes your startup idea special. Even if you have to hire a freelancer to produce a solid visual presentation for you, it is well worth the investment.
Don’t Forget It Is About the Money
The bottom line for investors is how their investment is going to make them a substantial return. Avoid the mistake of making a nebulous request for money. You impress potential investors by coming well-armed with details about exactly how their money will be spent, a complete budget of expenses, and projections that include not only what return they can expect but over what timeframe. The more you’re able to show you have a very well-thought-out business plan, the greater your chances of success.